A birthday celebration from afar

My dad loved birthdays. He enjoyed the company, and he loved to joke about the birthday person's age, including his own, in which he switched the birth year numbers around. So when he was 89, he would have said he was 98. When I was 52, he'd say I was 25. (That one I didn't mind!) Who wouldn't want to be 25 again!  If a kid was 12, he was 21. And sometimes our ages coincided, like 48 and 84, so we would trade places for the fun of saying so. (The picture is one of my dad in 1939 at age 17 - and I don't think he would have said 71 at that age! Pretty dapper guy though, wouldn't you say?) When Dad was in the nursing home, my sister and I used to plan parties and invite every family member that could come because he loved to celebrate. He was always humbly surprised when so many people came just for him. And he loved chocolate cake! (Who doesn't?)

When my dad was diagnosed with leukemia with only a few months left on earth, he still talked about living until his 90th birthday. My sister told him that if he lived that long, we would for sure throw him a party. She asked him how many people he wanted to invite. He said a million!

Now my dad loved to kid, and his humor was unassuming and even accidental. I'm not sure he said things to purposely make us laugh, but we did because he was just that kind of guy. He seemed to say the right thing (or even mix things up) at just the right time. So when he said he wanted a million people at his birthday, we figured it was just his humor.

But I think in light of eternity, that my dad got his wish. If they celebrate birthdays in heaven, they were celebrating his today. He would have been 90 if he'd lived, and he got to spend today with Jesus and all the saints that have gone on before. I'll just bet there were at least a million people at his celebration!

Unfortunately, for us, we had to imagine the celebration from afar. Wish I could have had a window to peek into heaven and see what he sees.

I did dream about him last night. I dreamed that he had died in November but was alive for his birthday. But maybe that's a fitting dream, as his spirit is very much alive today with Jesus. Just because I can't see him, doesn't mean he isn't there. He is gone, but only living at a different address.

So we celebrated his birthday by remembering him and imaging that party he longed for. I think it's cool that he also got to celebrate with Randy's parents. His mom, had she lived, would have turned 100 this week too.

Sometimes we celebrate in person and sometimes from afar. But birthdays are great reminders that we lived, we matter, and to show love to those we care about most.

Happy birthday, Dad!